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Sales success metrics face seismic change

by Robin Fisher. Seismic economic and social shifts are prompting sales leaders to reevaluate their technology and staffing needs - with 85% of sales reps in South Africa saying their digital transformation has accelerated since 2019.

by Robin Fisher. South African sales professionals say their roles have permanently changed, according to the Salesforce 4th State of Sales Report, which shows shifting success metrics and accelerating digital transformation. Salesforce collected data from nearly 6,000 sales professionals across the globe, spanning five continents, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, including 250 South African respondents.

Salesforce, a global leader in CRM, has released the fourth edition of this State of Sales report. The report shows that South African sales professionals are adapting quickly and decisively in the rapidly changing COVID-19 landscape, to serve as trusted advisors to customers in their time of need. Amongst other key trends, the report found that as a result of the current economic climate in South Africa, 84% of local respondents say their success metrics have changed, and 66% expect their role to be permanently changed as well. Some 82% of respondents say they have taken on new responsibilities at work. Digital transformation has accelerated since 2019, according to 85% of respondents, compared to 79% globally. Eight percent of salespeople surveyed also said that sales technology needs have significantly changed since last year, versus 74% globally.

The COVID-19 crisis is forcing South African sales professionals to rethink how their teams operate – from the tools they are using, to strategies they are implementing and relationships they are building – during a critical time. This year’s report provides sales professionals and leaders with insights to navigate this challenging period and envision a new future during a time where transformation has never been more urgent or important.

The key trends revealed in the State of Sales report were collected from sales professionals, including sales operations, sales representatives, and sales leadership. Respondents include sellers from B2B and B2B2C companies across North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The key trends include:

  • Sales reps retool tactics for a new selling landscape: Sales strategies have always had to evolve in response to customers’ changing needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up many customers’ personal circumstances and needs, meaning that sales strategies have needed to quickly adapt. Ninety-four percent of sales reps in South Africa say they’ve had to adopt new ways of selling; while 66% expect their role to be permanently changed as a result of current economic trends.
  • Sales operations gets a bigger seat at the table: The role of operations during this transition is vital, with 89% of sales reps in South Africa agreeing that sales ops are becoming increasingly strategic. Businesses require cutting edge operational efficiency and data-driven decision-making in order to accurately align with customers’ needs, while also endorsing brand reputation. Companies need to take advantage of existing skillsets within sales ops teams, while upskilling employees to not only support sales strategy, but also help define it.
  • Leaders pivot for recovery and growth: Seismic economic and social shifts are prompting sales leaders to reevaluate their technology and staffing needs – with 85% of sales reps in South Africa saying their digital transformation has accelerated since 2019. Few could have predicted the global pandemic, nationwide lockdown and economic contractions while planning budgets at the start of the fiscal year. Many leaders in South Africa admit they are so far unable to map key business priorities to the country’s changing social and economic conditions. As such, only 77% of sales leaders from South Africa feel their organisation is mostly capable of adapting staff skills, and 81% say the same about technology.

*For the full report please visit Salesforce State of Sales 2020.

 

Robin Fisher is Salesforce Senior Area Vice President – Growth Markets. Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Founded in 1999, Salesforce enables companies of every size and industry to take advantage of powerful technologies — cloud, mobile, social, internet of things, artificial intelligence, voice and blockchain — to create a 360-degree view of their customers.

 

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